Announcement of the Winner of the 2017 Essay Contest
This year CT COLT conducted the sixth (6th) annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST. For 2017, students explored the current theme for ACTFL, which is World Languages: A Can-Do Mindset. In a written response, students had to explore the following subtopics:
(1) How do the Can-Do Statements help students in their learning of the language? How do they help world language teachers in their instruction?
(2) What recommendations would you make to both world language teachers and students in using these Can-Do Statements in the classroom and/or personally?
(3) Do you think that these Can-Do Statements are beneficial and/or necessary for the teaching and learning of a world language?
Students were required to craft well-organized arguments, constructed from objective, fact-based information, in addition to drawing upon personal experience from their own learning of foreign languages. With this in mind, students reflected on their own experiences in their foreign language classrooms, illustrating how their teachers have used the Can-Do Statements to assess and monitor their progress in learning either Spanish and French.
A committee of three (3) CT COLT board members reviewed essays submitted by world language students from various high schools around Connecticut. Essays were read and scored according to a contest writing rubric which included the following criteria: citations and accuracy of facts cited, persuasiveness of arguments, conventions of writing and organization of essay. CT COLT and all board members would like to take the opportunity to congratulate and thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest. All students who submitted essays for this year’s contest will receive a Certificate of Participation from CT COLT.
This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2017 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Jessica Buslewicz of Newington High School. The committee applauds Ms. Buslewicz for her excellent essay which references both fact-based arguments and personal experiences. In a well-argued and organized essay, Ms. Buslewicz makes several excellent points about how Can-Do Statements can be used as a proficiency based system for teaching and learning, wherein students can show what they know and what they can do in a language. She continues to write how the very nature of the Statements focus more on what students are able to do functionally in a foreign language, as opposed to what they cannot do. In this manner, she explains, students are able to build self-confidence with their language learning and are less discouraged to take chances when it comes to writing and especially speaking. By utilizing the Can-Do Statements in her classroom, Jessica has experienced language learning with more of communicative purpose, as opposed to one that is evaluative and that focuses only on assessment. Finally, Jessica summarizes that there are benefits to both students and teachers in the learning and instructional processes, which also serves as her basis for recommending that they be used more wide-spread in foreign language classrooms.
We are pleased to present Jessica with a $50 award. In addition, we are happy to provide her teacher, Ms. Stephanie Sanzo, with a $50 Carlex voucher. Once again, we thank all student and teacher participants in this year’s contest and look forward to the eighth (8th) CT COLT Essay Contest in 2018. Please click HERE to download a copy of Jessica’s winning essay.
James Wildman, John R. Rook and Christine Dombrowski, Co-Chairs for the 2017 CT COLT Essay Contest